Dear Joan Jett,
The first time I saw you in concert I think I was 15 (maybe 16). I was really, really excited – your music was a major outlet for me back then. I was in an unsafe, unstable, unhealthy relationship at the time though, and my then-boyfriend somehow managed to make the concert an experience of shame and confusion rather than the euphoria I'd been expecting.
Okay, okay, fast-forward 14 years. The second time I saw you in concert, this past July, I was 28. I was in the audience, blissed out and enjoying every single second of seeing you on stage again. I went with my wife and one of our best friends. Even though Kristie's maybe not *that* into your music, she knows I am, and was really happy to see me happy. (I think the same reason she comes with me to see the Nutcracker every winter, and I go to Mets games with her.)
So anyway...that's why I cried at the concert last month when you sang "Crimson & Clover." In case you were wondering. Because I remember exactly how it felt to sit at my parents' dining room table in high school, headphones on, doing homework and listening to your album. What happened when I realized you sang "her" in that song. I know it's a cover, but that doesn't matter. I don't care. It was intoxicating. Terrifying. Because you sang it. And I knew I felt that way.
It was the same way I felt the first time I kissed another girl, while playing Truth or Dare at a party. I felt like I'd gotten struck by a bolt of lightning. Shaky, a little sick, like nothing else mattered – scared but I knew for sure I wanted to do it again.
It took a long time for me to come out of the closet. The aforementioned high school relationship cost me a lot – emotionally, in therapy bills, in years. In nightmares I sometimes still have. But it's no accident that almost every woman I've been attracted to has been of slight build, covered in tattoos, an androgynous dresser, and just a tiny bit grungy and anti-establishment. You were the archetype for them all. "She is the warrior queen of my heart," I posted on Facebook from the concert, totally blissed out, sharing a blurry, zoomed-in picture of you on the screen (our seats were so, so far away, ha!).
I also realized in that moment that I was wearing the same shoes I'd worn to the first concert 14 years earlier. A pair of well worn, well loved huaraches. They've lasted such a long time, and so have I.
Coming out was inevitable. There's just no two ways about it. But in those years between me realizing I was different and finally saying it out loud, your music was there. I just wanted to say thanks for that. And at that concert last month, I got to honor my 15-year-old self in a way she really deserves – and realize that second part maybe for the first time. Thanks for that, too.
Oh, and the answer to this question? Um, yeah. Yes, please.